Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Last February Hodgepodge

It's the last set of Hodgepodge questions for February so that means Spring is really around the corner. Right?   Here in the lowcountry we have had lots of rain lately.  I have seen on the news the blizzard conditions happening in the middle of the country and know Spring seems like a distant dream for them.  Stay warm and safe everyone there.  Come on Spring! 

1.  When were you last facing an ocean?   Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.

I live about 1 1/2 miles from the ocean so I see it often.  The last time?  Last week if you don't count catching glimpses from my car as I'm driving around.  One word:  Serene.   At least that's the way I like it - when it's not stirred up from a storm.  

2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?

1. The sound of a grown person crying.  Children cry easily and get over it quickly.  When a grown-up cries it's due to a major catastrophe and it's heartbreaking to hear.  2.  A loud boom-box system in a car next to me at the stoplight. It's so invading. I love music too but I don't need to crank it SO LOUD that it makes my car & the cars around rumble!  3. People using foul language - all the time.  I only use a "bad word" when I am at a boiling point and thankfully that rarely happens.  People who spew "f words" and other insulting words all the time make me cringe.

3.  When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

When it comes to most clothing I try it on at the store first.  I know that sizing differs and styles "sit" differenting on bodies.  I am tall and have to check arm and pant lengths.   The only time I may not try on something is if it's a basic top and I don't fear it not fitting.  I NEVER return clothes (lazy?)... I know I should.  But, if I buy something and then change my mind on the fit or if I just decide I don't like it, then I donate it to the Salvation Army. 

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut?  Do you use them in cooking and baking, or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I am not a fan.  If pistachios are in a mixed nut dish I will eat them, but I never buy them alone - or use them in cooking or baking. 

5.  When did you last have to compromise with someone?  Were you happy to reach this compromise or slightly irrated it was necessary?

Joyce: are you reading my mind??  Yesterday I compromised.  I think in a marriage (if you want it to be successful anyway) you have to learn to compromise - because you love the other person and you want them to be happy.  (It's not always about me! ha)   Seriously, I think I compromise in a healthy way all the time.   If only Congress could realize it's a necessary part of life!!

6.  Have you ever written a letter to an elected official?  Did you get a response?

Again, Joyce: are you reading my mind??  I sent off a letter just last week to both my state's Senators on the Assault weapon gun control need.  Actually, I get mail from the Brady Campaign on Gun Control and it had a form letter...I signed it, and sent it on.  I have also sent emails to my representantives from time to time about issues that mean a lot to me.  If I get a response back, it's always the standard reply..."thank you for your comment...blah, blah, blah."     But, I do feel we citizens need to send our reps our concerns.  They are supposed to be representing us, right?   (One can dream!)

7.  We "march" into a new month this week... what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

One thing?  March 17th is my mother's birthday.  She has passed on, but it's still a day to celebrate her and to think extra about the woman she was, and to think back on my happy memories about her. 

8.  My random thought.

I'm also looking forward to Easter at the end of March. It's early this year.  I plan on spending some time with my daughters on that weekend.  Plus, I love the Easter celebration - I love the Easter music! 

All for now.  Know the saying "April showers bring May flowers?"  Well, I'm hoping February showers bring March flowers here...   thankfully sping arrives early here.  I can't wait for the trees and bushes to bloom!  It's such a pretty time!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

A rainy day - and time to blog.

I have not been very good about blogging if it's not Hodgepodge day.  But, since today is a cool, rainy day here and I find myself sitting at the computer...

I think I will put down a few random thoughts.

* I love "American Idol" and have watched every season since it's conception.  I love music and I love how the judges find such wonderful undiscovered talent...and often the talent then goes on to make it big professionally.   I wonder tho:  Whatever happened to Kris Allen?  I voted for him, and I downloaded a couple of his songs when he first won the competition.  He's one "new" singer I love that isn't in the country music genre.  It seems he has disappeared.    Where are you Kris?

* Speaking of music, I am already counting down the weeks until the CMA Festival in Nashville in June.  It's such a highlight of my year!   This time I look forward to sharing the experience with my daughter and some of her friends.

*  Around this time of year (end of February) I get so anxious to get to gardening!  I can't wait to go to the garden centers and buy flowers and plants, and get busy!  Each year I also manage to pick up some poison ivy in the process.  And, last year I got a few nasty red ant bites that needed medical attention.  I sure hope I am wise, that I wear the proper protective clothing, and wash well after gardening. I hope I can get through the spring season without getting something! 

*  It's Lent, and I have grown up observing the time leading up to the last days of Jesus on earth... and use the time for reflection.  I try to put my life into perspective.  I give up something during Lent as a reminder.  I give up chocolate which is pretty insignificant, BUT each time I say "no" to chocolate I pause and think what Jesus said "yes" to - and that he took the road to his painful death - for me and for everyone.  

*  I have been surprised by how many Christians do not observe Lent.  It was a Hodgepodge question 2 weeks ago - and the women who weekly reply to the questions are women that I know are devout in their faith.  Many do not belong to churches that emphasize Lent.  Last Wednesday at our service my pastor spoke of how a woman experiences labor pains before the birth and glorious arrival of a new baby.  Lent is like that time of pain...of waiting... of preparing for Easter.   Life brings pain... life is a journey.  The result of Jesus dying for us, and then our graceful gift of eternal life is the brand new "life"!

*  Sometimes, even at my age, I can experience a "first"!  It still happens!   Yesterday I celebrated my older cousin Linda's birthday with her ON her birthday!  It was a first!

*  I'm looking forward to hosting the Book Club I belong to this coming week.  The book we will discuss, "The Code of the Forest", is written by Jon Buchan, a man very familiar with this area I live in, the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  It was great fun to read this piece of fiction beecause it takes place right here, pretty much in my own backyard!   One of the main characters in the book lives in a cabin along the PeeDee River - so our book club will meet at our cabin, "Riva-side", and we will enjoy some local food and drink, while sitting in the same setting.

* I'm going to try and see "Les Miz" before Sunday night's Oscars.  Unfortunately I haven't seen too many of the films this year that have been nominated.  I did see "Lincoln" and last week saw "Silver Lining Playbook."   I thought both of these movies were excellent!    My favorite part of the Academy Awards tho?   The red carpet!  Yes!  Seeing what everyone is wearing is fun!!  

It's still raining and grey...but I better go get something done around here.
Have a good weekend friends!   

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Favorites... road trips, colors, senior citizens...a true Hodgepodge!

Take a moment to relax after last week's busy week of holidays, and participate in the Hodgepodge!  Everyone is welcome!   Here are Joyce's questions for this week, and my answers.

1.  When were you last 'on a mountain top?' You may answer it in the literal or figuritive sense.

Literally, I really can not remember.  I have driven through mountains on road trips (see question #5) but it's been a really long time since I have stood on a mountain top.  Saying that, I admit I am not a mountain person.  I much prefer flat land and beach environments.  

2. Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

Hubby and I have not had a strict budget in many years.  But, when I was single and when I was first married I kept a ledger of expenses.  I wanted to know first, where our money went - and second, how best to use it wisely.  I think all young people should keep a running tab on expenses because it does help identify the realities of life (utilities, rent, insurance, food), and what is left over for FUN, SHARING and SAVINGS.  Sharing?  It's important to give something to a charity or as offering to church. I feel it's a "responsibility."  I would also encourage young people to take something small from each paycheck and place it in a separate (untouchable) account for that "rainy day" need or for future dreams.

3. Cherries - yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia...pick one.

I do not crave cherries.  My answer would have to be cherry pie.  When I lived with my parents in Maryland in my teen years we had a small cherry tree in our backyard.  My mother was able to pick enough cherries for just a few fresh, homemade cherry pies.  They were really delicious!  

4. Should you discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

Oh my.  A loaded question!!  Politics  today is SO divided and I really think people will not/can not talk with others with other viewpoints without getting upset or personally offended.   As for religion, I know that God wants us to "share the good news" and to bring His message of love, of Jesus, and of eternal life to those who don't know it.  So, it's a challenge on HOW to do it without turning the person off, or coming on too strong, or sounding like a crazy person.  I think it's best to "live" religion and be an example of what a believer is.  I try to do that.  I certainly LOVE a good religion discussion... if both sides are open to it.

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?

I love a road trip by myself.   I love the hours on the open road to listen to music LOUD and to sing along.  I have a rule that when driving on a road trip any & all food is allowed to keep me awake so it's one of my rare opportunities to stop for fast food.  I also use M&M's as my "caffeine pills".    If I am with others on a road trip, certainly it makes sense to share the driving.  In that situation we have a rule that the driver controls the music.   I like to drive - but I also like to be the passenger and take a snooze.  My last road trip?   Joyce, how many hours on the road is considered a "road trip?"  I drive 4 hours occasionally to North Carolina to see my daughters.  That's not a long trip though.   At Thanksgiving we drove to northern Ohio for a family get-together... 13 hours.   That trip takes us right through the NC and W VA mountains (back to question #1) and I dislike it VERY much.  I don't like windy roads and I definitely don't like being in a valley between mountains. I have a claustrophic feeling.  Seriously....it bothers me.

6.  If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalant?

Ok, so I try to hang my clothes by color... it looks more organized and it's easier to find the article of clothing I am looking for each day.   Definitely the most prevalant color is white.  I have a large collection of white tops for all occasions: warm or cold weather, t-shirts for under sweaters, or golf shirts, and a few sweaters to throw on top of any other color.

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special? 

Hey. I'm a senior citizen in the eyes of AARP. So is my hubby.  So, not counting us?   I have a few.  I live in an area that has a rather large retired community so I know many senior citizens.  In general I have to say I am impressed with how so many of them are still active and engaged in life.  They are wonderful role models.  I realize that they have their health, and when you have your health you have everything!  Right?    So, I will list a few here by first name:  Dave, Jeanne, Penny, Janet, Rich, and Jane.  They are inspirations.   They still love life, give back, stay positive, and enjoy people. 

8.  My random thought.

The South Carolina weather has been unusually cold this past week, and we actually had some snow flakes this past Saturday night.  Western Carolina gets snow from time to time but it's really rare here along the coast.  It was enough to remind me how much I dislike cold weather...and wind, and snow, and bundling up, and hurrying in and outside. Ugh.   I'm hoping that was the end of our winter and now spring can come and warm me up and let me enjoy being outdoors. 

Have a good week blogging friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hodgepodge answers - scroll down.

The Hodgepodge is below "My Two Cents"...scroll down!

My Two Cents

Last night was President Obama's State of the Union address.   I watched.  As most of you know I like the man, and I think he is a good and honorable leader.  I believe he really wants to find solutions for the needs of this country.  I see positive things happening here...our military coming home from war, the real state market slowly improving, unemployment slowly going down, the American car industry doing a bit better...  to name a few.  Yes, the debt ceiling and medical care for Americans are still BIG issues and the two sides are not willing to come to a middle ground agreement.

But, that is not why I am writing this blog this morning.   After the President's address I listened to the Republican side, and then I listened to the media (I had CNN on last night) rehash them both and then interview a few of the members of Congress. 

Here is my gripe this morning.   I feel that our media outlets are pansies to these men and women who spew anything they want to say and NEVER challenge them!  Reporters give them airtime but never seem to call them out when lying.  They seem to always "agree" with whoever it is that is on camera at the time.  It really saddens me that our media can not work through the BS and call our leaders out when "facts" are given wrong.

As I read my FB messages and tweets this morning I continue to see such a divide in people and I think a part of it is because the media encourages it. 

I got my college degree in Broadcasting & Mass Communications, and I worked in a radio newsroom and in other aspects of radio and TV. It was a long time ago.  Yes, but I remember always letting only true statements get on air.  So, I suppose I am more aware of how reporters ask questions, and what they do in front of the camera.  I analyze it...and believe me, it embarrasses me.  

So, this morning I sit here and shake my head... as I read mean things said on social media about our leaders and representatives.   People are frustrated.  Language has gotten free out there - mean-spirited and disrespectful.  Come on reporters - REPORT the truth and report when it's a lie.  Report on fact.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A busy Hodgepodge! Thinking about Lent, Valentine's Day and President's Day!

Yes, this is a busy week ahead with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, then Valentine's Day, and ending with President's Day.  Joyce has questions about all three.  Read on for her questions and my answers.

1.  This week marks the beginning of Lent...will you be giving up something or adding anything to your life during this season of the year?

I plan to do both.  Each Lenten season I try to give up something, and in recent years it's been chocolate. I like chocolate and therefore there are times I have to say no. Is it a major sacrifice?   No.  Giving up wine or peanut butter would be harder for me. (They are part of my daily intake.)   I am adding to the season by attending my church's Wednesday evening Lenten service. 

2. The day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday....tradition states you eat pancakes on this day.  In some parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is actually known as 'Pancake Day.'  How do you like your pancakes?  Or don't you?

First, I don't know where I have been but this is the first I have ever heard that this day is known for pancakes!  Really.  I know of it as an indulgance day - where people party in New Orleans, and have one last wild night before Lent starts.   As for pancakes, I am not a fan.  Never have been.  I consider it "filler food"... and unhealthy.  Flour, milk, butter, syrup.   I'd rather have an egg omelet for breakfast.  Or if I'm going to indulge I'll take eggs benedict! 

3. I'm sure there are many, but what's one love song you really love?

"It's Your Love" - sung by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill.    (April - is it yours too??)   Absolutely! Beautiful words - "it's your love, it just does something to me, sends a shock right through me!!"  If you have ever seen the video Tim & Faith are singing this to each other & she's got to be 8 1/2 months pregnant & radiant...and he's gorgeous (of course) and they are looking deep into each other's eyes.  It's a beautiful duet, sung to each other.  {{melt}}

4. What are some things you do to let others know you love them?

Besides tell them?  And, tell them often?    That's about the best one can do - and it doesn't take money.  But, also I like to just do "little" things...like sending a card, or a quick text message... or picking up a special little something you know they like.

5.  Roses...red, pink, or do you prefer another color?  Can you recall the last time someone gave you flowers?  Given the choice would you like to open the door and see a dozen red roses, a dozen purple tulips, or a dozen pink peonies?

I was fortunate to work in a florist while I was in college...and was even more fortunate to take home the "day old" roses that no longer could be sold.  So, I got to know and enjoy roses at an early age.  My favorite is called the "Sonya Rose" and it is a peachy-pink color.  Different and beautiful!  

The last time I got flowers?  My hubby ordered a Christmas arrangement that was delivered to the house for the holidays.  He ALWAYS sends flowers for special times, to me and our daughters.  What a guy!

I think I would prefer the pink peonies because they last the longest - and are different.  Actually, I would prefer them still as a plant (not cut) so that I could replant them.  That would be the best!

6.  President's Day will be celebrated in America next Monday. Does US Presidential history and trivia interest you?  Many Presidential homes are open to the public and offer guided tours...  Monticello (Jefferson's home), Mount Vernon (Washington's home), Montpelier (James Madison's home), Hyde Park (FD Roosevelt's home), and The White House (home to the sitting President) to name just a few.  Of those listed which would you be most interested in touring? Why?

I find that American history in general is interesting. I don't specifically find presidential history something I search out to learn more about though.  

I have been to Monticello, Mount Vernon, and the White House (on a tour - not a personal invitation! HA!!)  I would definitely like to tour the other two homes, but I think nothing can top walking through the White House...  it's a beautiful place but also the hub of so much that happens that effects us all.  It's "our" house and I love that it is NOT just a museum -  it's still a working and living space.

7.  Are you good at keeping secrets?

I am good at keeping them if I have to - but I prefer not to be in a situation where I have to keep a secret.    Thankfully, it rarely happens.

8.  My random thought.

I just got to thinking that today's Hodgepodge is about God (Lent), love (Valentine's Day), and our country (President's Day.)   Just saying...     What a week!    

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February's first Hodgepodge List

As always, thanks to Joyce for coming up with some great questions for the weekly Hodgepodge. Below are the questions and my answers.  Does something strike you?  Then, respond back. I love to read the comments.

1. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th, and 2013 is the year of the snake.  When did you last see a snake? Are you okay around snakes or do they give you shivers?

Wow! Where do I start?  I have a major fear of snakes!!!  I hate anything that "slithers" (I do not even like that word!)  Joyce asks when I last saw one?  Well, just last week I woke up and sat up in bed screaming because I had a snake come after me in a dream/nightmare.  It jumped right at me!  Now, I'm sure there are other "deeper" meanings to it...but whatever, it was horrifying! 

I live in an amazingly beautiful area with all kinds of birds, and varmits - and even alligaters. But the one thing I hate the most here are the snakes.  Our house backs up to an old plantation rice field that is now marsh, beautiful to look at but also a natural environment for snakes.  I have lived here 7 years and we have had THREE snakes in the house!  I have seen more outdoors, including a couple on our porches and driveway.  I now have 3 feral/fixed kitties who keep them at bay - and I use moth balls around my house foundation because snakes don't like the smell.    Snakes:  EEEEEEEEEWWW!!!!!

2. The color red in Chinese culture usually means good luck.  Do you believe in luck?

Interesting question.   I suppose I believe that sometimes things just go a good way (and therefore,  unfortunately sometimes they just go a bad way.)   I am a strong believer in God, and have faith in Him, and I try to live my life thinking positive.  When good things happen I do not consider it "luck." But, this world is complex and sometimes people are in places or situations where good or bad just happens.  Are they lucky?  Or unlucky?    At that moment, yes, you can say that.

3. Sledding - ice skating - building a snowman...if given a choice, which activity would you choose?  Which of the 3 have you done most recently?

I am not a cold weather person so I don't enjoy cold climate activites.  But, when I was a kid I used to ice skate quite a bit. There was a time I belonged to a local indoor rink (in Cleveland Heights) and skated weekly.  Even in college I met up with friends and we skated indoors - and outdoors. I used to go to a rink set up in the old Memorial Stadium parking lot in Baltimore.  Music blasted and I spent the afternoon circling the rink over and over.  I had a mishap at the Orchard Skating Rink in Towson, when I skated backwards right into another person, we collided, I fell and broke my arm.   

I have not done any of the cold qweather activities recently - by choice!  ( : 

4. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited as saying "The years touch much which the days never knew."   Where have you seen this quote played out in your life?

I think I can look back on my years as they have gone by as "eras" - special times I have lived.  There's childhood, and then college years.  There were my first years working, and living on my own.  The early marriage years, and then young children years...  all are "eras" of my life - or years that have touched me, and made me who I am.   As I lived them (those "days") I didn't really understand what I was in...how it was such a special time in my life.    A very nice quote Mr. Emerson!

5.  When was the last time you ate a cupcake?

Just this past Tuesday night!  One week ago.  Once a month at the Pawleys Island Community Band rehearsal we celebrate all members with birthdays during the month.  Last Tuesday was one of those celebrations. I had a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing.  Yum! 

6.  What's something you can't say no to? 

Just one thing???   ha!  I can't say no to a family member in need, I can't say no to giving when I know I can, I can't say no to chocolate (although I'm going to try to during Lent).  I can't say no to going to a country music concert, and I can't say no to a glass of chardonnay! 

7.  Are you a doodler?

Interesting question.  No I am not.  But perhaps that is because I am not holding a pen or pencil very much anymore.  In school I was an art major for a while, so I drew and doodled all the time.  It's hard to doodle on a keyboard!?!   (I know, there are apps for that!!)

8.  My random thought this week.

February is a short month, and for me it is the month to still "muddle through" as we wait for Spring.  I am in a holding pattern in terms of some gardening plans, and in doing other outdoor activites.  Once March arrives here it is warm enough to do more and I have a list ready!    

As always have a great week ahead blogger friends!   I look forward to reading your comments!